There’s nothing better than a cooling dip when you’re relaxing on holiday – be it in the sea, swimming pool or a wild swimming spot like a lake or river. While all of our lovely houses at Simply Gascony come with their own private pools, there’s plenty of great water sources nearby, whether you’re looking for activities such as kayaks and sailing, an adrenaline-pumping water park, or maybe just a quiet fishing spot along the river. Here’s our pick of the best places for swimming and water sports in Gascony:
Gascony has plenty of both natural and man-made lakes (known as “base de loisirs”) that can be used for swimming as well a range of water sports, including water skiing, sailing, windsurfing and pedalo hire. Many of the lakes in Gascony also have sandy beaches and children’s activities like water slides, including for example lakes in Castera-Verduzan, Gondrin, Montreal, Lupiac, Lectoure, (the 'Lac des Trois Vallees', which also offers mini-golf) and St Clar, south-east of Lectoure.
Parc de Loisirs du Lac de l’Uby
Near the well-known spa village of Barbotan les Thermes lies the lake Lac l’Uby, with several options for outdoor water sports activities including pedalos, surfing and sailing, as well as an outdoor swimming pool and a large children’s play area. The lake also offers great opportunities for fishing.
Base de Loisirs, Castéra-Verduzan
In Castéra-Verduzan there is a beautiful, white-sand, lake-side beach, created in 1989. The beach and lake combined cover an area of just over 17 acres, including a large swimming area with a pontoon and water slides.
Base de Loisirs, L’Isle Jourdain
In the east of Gascony, about 30 minutes from Toulouse, this waterpark has an excellent water ‘teleski’ installation, plus pedalos, mini-golf and a skate park. 10 minutes north of L’Isle Jourdain is the lake and sailing club at Thoux-St Cricq, where you can also swim and fish.
The River Baise is a 188 kilometre long river that is sourced in the foothills of the Pyrenees and runs through many of the pretty market towns of Gascony. The river can be used popularly for fishing and boat trips/hire (license not necessary) particularly from Condom and Nerac. Beaucaire-sur-Baise (just south of Valence) is a very popular canoe hire spot with many excursions available that are designed for tourists wanting to explore the river, either individually or supervised depending on your level of experience. You can also fish in the rivers Gers, Arratz and Gimone.
Walibi Aquitaine (new name to be announced in 2021)
Walibi Aquitaine offers a full day of activities for all ages, from the tranquil to the white-knuckle rides such as the new ‘Dark Tower’ which catapults passengers to heights of over 50 metres – perfect for the thrill seekers among us. The park also hosts a number of special shows and attractions in the summer months, as well as a number of eateries and family facilities.
Parc de Loisirs Gondrin
In what was once the old velodrome in Gondrin, you will now find a large swimming pool (with a diameter of 80 metres!) and waterpark suitable for all ages. An impressive sight to see!
If you’re looking for something a little different, why not try one of the South West’s popular thermal spas? Castera-Verduzan near Auch is a wonderful and historic hot springs spa founded during the reign of Louis XV. Lectoure also has a recently renovated and rather luxurious spa-hotel complex.
The Pyrenees Mountains
The region of Gascony and the boundary of the modern département of Le Gers extend south into the foothills of the Pyrenees. By travelling a little further into the mountains, you can enjoy another world of swimming and water sports, including white-water rafting, canoeing, and swimming in remote and ice-cold mountain pools.
We understand that Covid-19 is making international travel difficult during 2021, that’s why we’re offering a ‘No-Risk’ booking promise for all holidays this year. Learn more here.
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